The cost of brand prescription drugs is going up eight times faster than the general inflation rate.
Some generic manufacturers started increasing the price of generic drugs by triple digits.
Why is the cost of drugs going up so fast? The answer is simple: because the pharmaceutical companies think they can charge whatever they want to for drugs. But they’re wrong: Many engage in illegal practices that cost you and union benefit plans billions of dollars – and now they are being held accountable.
To address these abuses, the DC 37 Health and Security Plan, which oversees the union’s popular prescription drug benefit, participates in nation wide class action litigation against the drug manufacturers that engage in unlawful practices. For instance:
• Our plan sued a drug wholesaler that unlawfully inflated the price of many brand drugs. This suit settled for $350 million and the plan was able to have the cost of these drugs rolled back to their pre-inflated prices, saving millions more.
• We also sued a manufacturer for pushing a drug for a use that had not been approved by the Federal Drug Administration, leading to increased suicides among youngsters. That case settled for $40 million.
• The plan is currently participating in two other cases. One involves a brand manufacturer bribing generic manufacturers not to make their less expensive generically equivalent drugs available to you. The other involves a drug company that deliberately ceased manufacturing a brand drug that was soon to lose its patent and re-creating the same drug in time-release form with a much higher price and a new patent. Here the court ordered the company to continue to produce the older less expensive drug. This case is on appeal by the manufacturer.
Our plan participates in these lawsuits to curb bad practices in the pharmaceutical industry, and it has taken in millions of dollars in awards.